After a summer of speculation, Joe Thornton is looking to put the damper on any trade rumors surrounding him. Meanwhile, the rival Anaheim Ducks may be looking for help between the pipes after John Gibson went down with injury.
Former San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton has no intention of waiving his no-movement clause anytime soon. Despite an off-season in which Thornton was stripped of the captaincy and mentioned in trade rumors, he told the Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger he considers the Sharks a very good team capable of doing something.
During the summer, there was speculation claiming Sharks management might try to pressure the 35-year-old into accepting a trade. The rumors carried over into this season, as Zeisberger cited a recent report linking Thornton with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Thornton admitted he found the attention flattering, but his intention is to remain with the Sharks. While’s he’s no long the captain, Thornton’s teammates still consider him their leader and continue to support him.
This report comes as bad news for clubs with interest in the big play-making center, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Thornton is now in the first season of a new three-year contract which also contains a full no-movement clause, giving him full control of the situation. If he doesn’t want to be dealt, there’s very little Sharks management can do to change his mind.
The perception of Thornton as a big-game player in the regular season who comes up small in the playoffs still exists. If the Sharks once again fail to challenge for the Stanley Cup this season, Thornton could again become the scapegoat. If so, he can expect another summer as the focus of off-season trade chatter.
DUCKS COULD SEEK BACKUP HELP
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Ducks are considering all their goalie options in case they need more long-term insurance. Martin Brodeur, Tomas Vokoun and former Duck Ilya Bryzgalov remain available in the free-agent market.
If the Ducks go the free-agent route, Sportsnet’s Scott Lewis believes Bryzgalov could be a better fit than Brodeur. Lewis notes Bryzgalov is younger, has matched or exceeded Brodeur in performance in recent years, and is used to a part-time role.
A trade is also a possibility. Lewis notes Carolina’s Cam Ward and Toronto’s James Reimer being frequent candidates in the rumor mill. The return for either goalie, however, could prove expensive. Ward also carries a $6.3-million cap hit through next season.
Adding another goalie via trade or free agency could also prove complicated once Gibson is ready to return. Unless he’s out longer than expected, or they also lose Andersen for an extended period, the Ducks could stand pat for the time being.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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